The meeting of the European Radiation Research Society (ERRS) was held in Sicily, Italy between the 21-24 September and was attended by Nathalie Lövgren, Salome Paillas and Ester Hammond from the Department.
Congratulations to Nathalie who was selected for a Young Investigators Award (YIA) and received the award from ERRS president Georgia Terzoudi. Nathalie, a DPhil student from Kristoffer Petersson’s group, presented her work on “In Silico Comparisons of FLASH Proton Therapy versus Conventional Dose Rate Treatment Plans”.
Salome Paillas - also from Kristoffer's lab - was selected to give a short talk focused on “FLASH irradiation reduces radiation-induced skin and lung toxicity while being as efficient as conventional irradiation in antitumor response”. FLASH radiotherapy (FLASH-RT) is a new technique, involving treatment of tumours at ultra-high dose rates, which has been shown to reduce normal tissue from radiation-induced toxicity, whilst equalling the anti-tumour effect of conventional dose rate radiotherapy (CONV-RT). Salome outlined how her group colleagues performed a dose-response study in mice comparing the effect of FLASH-RT versus CONV-RT on skin and lung toxicity as well as tumour response in a lung cancer xenograft model.
Ester Hammond, who is part of the ERRS committee, gave a keynote lecture on “Targeting radiobiological hypoxia to improve radiotherapy response”. Key to the DNA damage induced by radiation is the presence of oxygen. In conditions of low oxygen (radiobiological hypoxia) significantly less DNA damage is induced by radiation leading to therapy resistance and disease progression. Regions of hypoxia occur in most solid tumours and, although the degree of hypoxia (how little oxygen) varies, these include areas of radiobiological hypoxia. The focus of Ester's work is the mechanistic investigation of the response to radiobiological hypoxia with a view to identifying therapeutic strategies to improve radiotherapy response. In particular, Ester's group has focused on the DNA damage response induced in radiobiological hypoxia which is unusual as it is dependent on replication stress and occurs in the absence of detectable DNA damage. Recently, the group has implicated the unfolded protein response as part of the response to hypoxia-induced replication stress.
Congratulations to Nathalie on her award, and well done to Salome and Ester on their presentations. If you would like to find out more about the European Radiation Research Society, you can visit the ERRS website.